The Nouvelle Vague (French New Wave) has its origin in France at the turn of 60s and is an avant-garde movement inspired by Italian Neorealist cinema. The first person to initiate the movement was a famous French film director, Claude Chabrol. He has begun his career with the movies, such as "Le Beau Serge" (1958), "Les Cousins" (1959) and "Les Bonnes Femmes" (1960). Young group of filmmakers wanted to create a unique cinema based on improvisation and mostly focused on its visual part, like photographs and interiors. The other relevant aspect was the narration, that could be interpreted in many different ways.
Other famous filmmakers are François Truffaut, Louis Malle, Jean-Luc Godard, Éric Rohmer, Jacques Rivette and Alain Resnais. Alan Resnais has directed many great movies, but the two of them became especially successful, "Last Year in Marienbad" and "Hiroshima Mon Amour".
"LAST YEAR IN MARIENBAD" (1961)
In a huge, old-fashioned luxury hotel a stranger tries to persuade a married woman to run away with him, but it seems she hardly remembers the affair they may have had (or not?) last year at Marienbad...
WHAT IS THE FILM ABOUT?
I believe no one can actually tell what it is about, but we can only put our best effort and interpret it in our own way. It is a hardly understandable love story and one of the films that leave us with thousands of questions afterwards. We don't know if the man and the woman have actually met and been in love. We hear the story told in a subjective way by the man who claim that they have. Although the woman has no memory of the fact that it actually took place. It seems like the past he is talking about never existed. As if he is creating the story at the moment of talking and direct the woman to do things that she is told to have done back then.
WHAT IS UNUSUAL ABOUT THE FILM?
Everything. The whole movie is extremely unusual. The story, the pictures, the music. We compared it to a computer game and it is indeed very game alike. When it comes to music I myself and most of my colleagues actually found it quite annoying. I guess it's the type of music that is supposed to build tension. For me it is rather strange to use it in this kind of movie, which presents a relatively calm story.
HOW DOES IT REFLECT ON FILM FORM?
"Last Year in Marienbad" is a surrealistic film experiment and a perfect example of French New Wave, due to cinematography, narration or interiors, that in this case are very well composed. Moreover, it is filled with beautiful photographs and its atmosphere is very strange and typical for New Wave films.
"HIROSHIMA MON AMOUR" (1959)
"Hiroshima mon Amour" is a beautiful story about a short, complicated romance between two people with an experience of World War II. The movie is mainly focused on the narration, which is created by dialogues. The conversation between the man and the women is filled with many profound reflections on life and painful memories.
"Sometimes we have to avoid thinking about the problems life presents. Otherwhise we'd suffocate."
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